Labour Senators welcome passage of Coco’s Law through the Seanad

22 December 2020

Ivana Bacik

Today, Friday 18th December, Labour Senators have welcomed the passage of the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017 through all stages of the Seanad.

Reacting to the passage of the Bill, Labour Seanad group leader and Spokesperson for Children Disability, Equality and Integration, Senator Ivana Bacik has said,

“It will be a great relief to a great many people across the country to see this important Bill pass through the Oireachtas, following today’s Seanad debate.

“In my speech this afternoon, I paid tribute to the tireless work of my Dáil colleague, Deputy Brendan Howlin, who first introduced the Bill in 2017. I also paid tribute to the immense work of campaigner Jackie Fox, whose daughter Nicole tragically died following years of bullying online, and I commended those organisations, such as SAFE Ireland and Women’s Aid, which have worked constructively to improve the Bill in recent weeks. I also thanked Minister McEntee, who worked so productively with the Labour Party in recent months to expedite the Bill’s passage.

“This Bill was written in recognition of the fact that the online realm is a public space and that people who use that space should be protected in the same way that they would be offline. Similarly, it recognises that perpetrators of online abuse should be held to account as they would be anywhere else. Its passage will bring our outdated laws up to date with modern technologies.”

Labour Spokesperson on Higher Education, Innovation and Research Senator Annie Hoey said,

“Cyberbullying, online harassment and image-based sexual abuse all have devastating effects on those who are victimised. This Bill will play a vital and long-overdue role in combatting online abuse, as well as sending out a strong message to perpetrators that their actions are unacceptable to society.

“However, there is a still great deal of work to be done at a societal level to promote a culture of respect and a real understanding of the principle of consent. In recent years, we have seen the emergence of a toxic culture online; this it must be brought to an and. We Labour Senators will work with others across the House to show zero tolerance for abuse and to foster an environment where survivors are empowered to come forward.”